‘Señorita 89,’ the Dramatic Thriller That Dismantles the Patriarchy From Within a Beauty Pageant

Señorita 89 BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of American Movies.

Since its production was announced in 2021, “Señorita 89” has been one of the most anticipated shows in the Latine community. It is a dramatic thriller that premiered in the United States and Puerto Rico last Sunday.

Starring Ilse Salas, Ximena Romo, Bárbara López, Natasha Dupeyrón, Leidi Gutiérrez and Coty Camacho, “Señorita 89” features 8 episodes that explore the world of beauty pageants as it might have been 30 years ago.

“Everything that scandalizes us today, in 1989 was allowed… the reification of women’s bodies, sexual harassment in the workplace, the abuse of power relations by men and the idea of thinking of women as someone else’s property, with all the implications that this has,” stated Lucia Puenzo, Director and Writer of the series. “Framed in the bestial back room of beauty pageants, ‘Señorita 89’ comes to talk about the women who began to shake that world… and to blow it up from within.”

The series is executive produced by Oscar winners Pablo and Juan de Dios Larraín, along with Ángela Poblete and Mariane Hartard of Fabula and Christian Vesper at Fremantle, written by Lucía Puenzo, who is also director, María Renée Prudencio and Tatiana Mereñuk, and directed by Nicolás Puenzo, Sílvia Quer and Jimena Montemayor.

‘Señorita 89’ is a sophisticated dramatic thriller set in the glamour of 1980s Mexico. The series follows Concepción (Ilse Salas), the matriarch of the country’s most important beauty pageant, who, along with a team of expert makeup artists, trainers, and even surgeons, welcomes the 32 finalists to her estate, La Encantada. The contestants will undergo three months of hard training until they reach the Miss Mexico pageant.

“We have normalized so many things for so long that we have no idea how much we are part of the problem,” Salas said. “We have accepted value judgments dictated by (mostly) men in power, we have done everything to fit into the stereotypes that were dictated to us, but there is always a small flame that lights up when we think of the past and from there…let it burn!”